The plea deal between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was finalized nearly two months ago, but it’s far from a done deal. Their formal agreement was just the beginning of their cooperation, which has surely seen Flynn forking over evidence and testimony against bigger fish in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Now we’re learning that Mueller and Flynn are working on something new together.
Flynn still has yet to be sentenced as part of his plea deal. Mueller can make any recommendation he wants to the judge, within the parameters of the deal. Mueller was supposed to make that happen by today, but CNN is reporting that he’s asked for a three month delay (link). This has been misinterpreted in some circles as being evidence of a problem between Mueller and Flynn. But the reporting makes clear that Flynn’s side is also requesting the delay, which means both sides are very much on the same page. So why the delay?
The only reason for both sides to request a delay is if they both feel there’s more work to be done. Mueller hasn’t yet decided how much leniency he wants to give to Flynn, because he’s not done relying on Flynn yet for information. Flynn’s only reason for going along with the delay is that he hopes to be of even more use to Mueller over the next three months, which could get him the most lenient sentence possible.
The ninety day delay makes clear that this isn’t simply a matter of needing a bit more time to finalize what they’ve already been working on. Instead, this means they’re working on something new. Perhaps Mueller is newly targeting someone in the Trump-Russia scandal, and Flynn has evidence against that person that wasn’t relevant before. One way or the other, the two of them are working on something new together – and that can’t be good news for anyone else involved in the scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report